Keep ahead of a winter storm by listening to the latest weather warnings and bulletins on NOAA Weather Radio, local radio and TV stations or cable TV. Be alert to changing weather conditions and avoid unnecessary travel.
• Check battery-powered equipment. You may have to depend on a portable radio or TV for weather information.
• Check your supply of heating fuel.
• Check your food and stock an extra supply. Your supplies should include food that requires no cooking or refrigeration in case of power failures. Consider high energy foods such as dried fruit or candy. Don’t forget prescription medicines, first aid supplies and other specialty items.
• Prevent fire hazards due to overheated coal or oil burning stoves, fireplaces, heaters or furnaces. Remember, in winter storms, emergency equipment can be hampered by extreme weather conditions, too, and often can’t respond as quickly.
• Stay indoors during storms and cold snaps, especially the elderly, small children and others in bad health. Avoid overexertion, especially when shoveling snow.
• Make necessary trips for supplies before a storm develops. Make sure your family emergency supply kit is up-to-date. Arrange for emergency heat in case of power failure, which could last for several days.
• Dress to fit the season. Wear layered, loose-fitting clothing. Wear a hat, scarf and mittens.
• Winterize your home by caulking around openings, installing storm windows and adding insulation.
• Get your car winterized before the storm season begins. Maintain a checklist of the preparation required. Keep water out of your fuel by keeping your gas tank full.
• Carry a winter storm car kit, especially if you plan cross-country travel or anticipate travel in Northern states. Items to consider include a mobile phone and charger, blankets or sleeping bags, flashlights and batteries, first aid kit, non-perishable foods, extra clothing, window scraper, water, road maps, small shovel and kitty litter or sand for traction.
• If the storm exceeds or even tests your limitations, seek available shelter immediately. Plan your travel and select primary and alternate routes.
• Check the latest weather information before departing, and drive carefully and defensively. Avoid traveling alone, and be sure someone knows your travel plans and route of travel.
• Don’t forget your pets or livestock. Move animals to sheltered areas.
For pets, bring them indoors or provide some form of heat. Provide fresh water since many pets die from dehydration in winter storms.